In yesterday’s post we discussed the importance of churches being part of a group instead of being lone rangers. We continue that discussion today. In my role as a denominational leader, I am often contacted by non-denominational churches going through times of difficulty. They have heard that I helped other struggling churches and am hopeful that I can help them too. Because I care deeply about expanding the Kingdom of God regardless of denominations, I try to do what I can for such churches. But I must admit that sometimes it is frustrating.
Think about this issue from my perspective. When such churches were healthy and had something to offer, they did not want to be connected to my denomination. But now that they are struggling and have little to offer, they want to join up and receive help. It is much like a person in the community who does not attend church, but when he or she needs help with the rent or some marriage counseling or assistance for one of their children, he or she shows up to a church and expects the church to offer free help for all of his or her problems. It makes one wonder about the real motivation behind the request for help. But just as good churches seek to help individuals in crisis, good denominations try to help churches going through struggles, even when they are outside the fold. However, that help is often much more limited than if the church were inside the tribe.
I think it is important for independent churches that have sought denominational help during times of crisis to remember who helped them once they are healthy and vibrant again. They should be willing to get involved in that group and support it so that the denomination can offer assistance to other churches.
Non-denominational churches that are currently not in a time of crisis, should consider joining a group now so that when their time of trial comes, they will already be in place to receive help. That way instead of being outsiders looking for a handout, they become part of the family and everyone feels good about helping them. For those non-denominational churches that do not want to be controlled by a denomination, there are a large number of denominations that believe in local church control. The Southern Baptist Convention, of which I am a part, is one of them. Our churches own their own buildings, select their own pastors, ordain their own leaders, write their own sermons, and control their own budgets. Converge, another Baptist group, is also a good option, though much smaller in scope than the SBC. The Evangelical Free is also a good option for those who prefer a less baptistic expression, as are any number of small denominations across America. There is no real reason to be non-denominational when so many options are available that do not require giving up control of one’s church. Do not wait for the moment of crisis to come, find a group NOW and go through whatever process is needed to help your church become part of a family of churches so that when your hour of need comes, it will be natural to ask for help instead of awkward.
Terry Dorsett has been a church planter and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. Find all of his books at: